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Afghanistan: London family trapped back home after ‘Taliban shot Cousin’

Afghanistan: London family trapped back home after 'Taliban shot Cousin'
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A London family has made it home to Britain after a terrifying ordeal in Afghanistan, where they had travelled for a wedding before the Taliban took over.

Sabrallah Zahiri told MyLondon a cousin of his was killed by the Taliban at the airport in Kabul – and a gun was also put to his head.


The Hounslow man had flown out to Kabul with his family of 12 – including two children aged two and eight – from Heathrow on July 19.


They had then been due to return on August 16.


But the Taliban entered Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, on August 15, leading to the collapse of the country’s government – and a huge scramble for people to leave.

Afghanistan: London family trapped back home after 'Taliban shot Cousin'
Afghanistan: London family trapped back home after ‘Taliban shot Cousin’

Sabrallah’s family were staying at their uncle’s house at the time, as they desperately sought help from the British consulate to help them return home, Mirror reports.



During his time in Kabul, Sabrallah described how the Taliban put a gun to his head before taking his car.


According to Sabrallah, the group repeatedly visited the uncle’s home and questioned why he was housing British nationals.


Sabrallah said: “The [Taliban] kept coming to [my uncle’s] house. They said ‘Why do you let people from the UK to live in your house?’ He said ‘they’re my nephew, my brothers.’


“The Taliban said ‘we don’t bother, we don’t care.'”


Sabrallah continued to ring the British consulate twice a day and desperately pleaded for help to get out of the country.


He said he lost weight and did not sleep due to the stress.


Sabrallah said: “The [British consulate] didn’t call me, I called them. I called them every day.


“What should I do? I don’t care about my life, I care about my son’s life and my [wife’s] life, my brother’s life, my mum’s life.


“The [consulate] were saying ‘you have to stay at home, please keep your family and your life safe.’”


Sabrallah and his family were told to go to Kabul airport on August, 19, but they were unable to board a plane.



In a previous incident at the airport earlier in the week, Sabrallah said the Taliban put a gun on his brother’s chest.


“When I went to the airport, there were over 100,000 people in the airport. I was waiting till midnight,” he said.


“They [put] a gun to [my brother’s] chest so I thought ‘no, they’re going to make a problem for us’ so we went back home.”

He said his cousin, who was an Afghan national, was “shot dead” by the Taliban at the airport.


The relative, who was Sabrallah’s grandfather’s nephew, was reportedly shot as he had previously worked with American soldiers.


He said: “The situation was very bad.


“At the airport, one of my relatives, [the Taliban] killed him… The [Taliban] said: ‘Why are you going back to the USA?’ They killed him.


“They shot him and lots of blood [had] gone, there was no hospital, no one to help him, lots of blood went from him and he died.”


Sabrallah and his family returned to Kabul Airport on August 20 where they were able to board a British military plane the next day along with roughly 300 people.


Sabrallah said he “risked his life” returning to the airport on Friday but described feeling “safe” with the British military.


The family then arrived in Dubai on August 22, before catching a connecting flight to the UK.


Sabrallah and his relatives returned to the UK at 8am on August 23, and arrived at Birmingham airport.


The family slept in the waiting area at the airport overnight and have been relocated to a quarantine hotel near Gatwick airport on Tuesday.



According to Sabrallah, there were around 200 others who travelled from Afghanistan waiting at the airport in Birmingham.


Afghanistan is currently on the government’s red list so arrivals into the UK must undertake a 10 day quarantine at a government-managed hotel.


The father described people crying on the aeroplane as they left Afghanistan.


Sabrallah said: “To be honest with you, I felt broken…There is no place like home but when you have broken your heart, how are you going to feel?


“I said sorry to the country and sorry to the people who live there.”


Mr Zahiri said his relatives in Afghanistan are living in fear in the country.


“They were all shocked and said, as soon as possible, they’re going to run away from [Afghanistan],” he said.

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